Former MP and Leader of the Opposition in Delhi Assembly VK Malhotra was responsible for chalking out the party’s election strategy in Delhi. He tells Moushumi Das Gupta that the BJP’s no-show in the state had more to do with the massive Congress wave in the country.
What according to you is the reason behind the BJP’s defeat in Delhi? Was it lack of strong leadership, weak candidates or infighting within the party ranks?
The main reason was the Congress wave throughout the country, which resulted in the party’s vote share going up drastically even in Delhi. It was neither a leadership issue nor infighting within the BJP. Also the comment that Manmohan Singh was a weak prime minister went against us and angered Sikh voters, who have traditionally voted for us. The Congress used this to reach out to Sikh voters.
Are heads going to roll after this poor show? Would the party high command fix responsibility on anybody?
No one individual is responsible for a defeat. It is a collective responsibility. We will analyse the reason. After that corrective measures will be taken.
For the first time in Delhi, the middle and urban class voters — traditionally a BJP vote bank — turned away from the party. What do you think made them shift their allegiance to the Congress?
The middle and urban class voters wanted a stable government and I think they saw in the Congress the ability to provide stability.
Are there any plans to revamp the state unit and groom a new generation of leaders?
We have brought in young leaders to head party posts. We also put a number of young candidates in the fray this time. But I think the time has come for us to sit together and introspect on what went wrong and how to rectify it.
Do you think the BJP failed to raise credible issues in the city and that is why people voted it out?
Be it fee hike, inflation, poor law and order situation — we raised every issue that concerns the common man. But these issues failed to cut ice with the voters, in the wake of a huge Congress wave across the country.